Aug. 16, 2010 -- She stands almost a foot taller than the average American woman, but her waist is anything but ordinary.
Meet Ann, the "America's Next Top Model" contestant who shocked Tyra Banks and the rest of the show's judges. Representatives from the show declined to release Ann's last name.
The 19-year-old, 6-foot, 2-inch blond from Dallas appears in the 15th season of the reality competition, premiering September 8. An adult's hands can easily fit all the way around her waist, as judge Miss J. Alexander demonstrates in a trailer released from the show.
While Banks first exclaims "You have the smallest waist in the world. Look at that waist!," upon seeing Ann, she later admits, "There's something about her I quite like."
Today, Banks released a statement clarifying that she doesn't condone overly skinny models.
"As a leader in celebrating and promoting healthy body image, I must admit that I regrettably didn't see this clip before it was released to the public," she said in a statement to People magazine. "But on behalf of the Top Model team, these were not the intentions, and we truly apologise for any confusion, anger or disappointment it may have caused."
"I am committed to expanding the definition of beauty which includes ALL shapes, sizes and proportions, from skinny to curvy and everything in between," Banks continued. "During this season of 'Top Model,' you will see that Ann provided another opportunity for me to support a young woman struggling with her own body image issues (she's 6'2?; and is the receiver of countless stares and ridicule). Helping young ladies, like Ann and countless others that have confided in me, furthers and supports my core mission."
Ann is the latest model to get attention for seeming too thin.
In March, photos from a Victoria's Secret shoot revealed a bony Alessandra Ambrosio modeling the label's newest swimwear. Even though she had her first child, Anja, almost two years ago, she bore closer resemblance to a pre-pubescent teenager than a 29-year-old mother.
French model Isabelle Caro revealed her years-long struggle with anorexia in a March episode of Jessica's Simpson's VH1 show, "The Price of Beauty." At 62 pounds, bones protruding and teeth decaying, Caro recently posed nude for an anti-anorexia ad campaign.
In her interview with Simpson, Caro said that a designer told her she needed to lose 10 kilograms (22 pounds) if she wanted to model. Caro stopped eating and eventually ended up in a coma. Now, she's trying to pass a national law in France that would ban too-thin models from the runway.
It's a conversation that's on-going in the fashion industry. In New York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) held a discussion earlier this year on the idea of changing the sample size from a size zero to a size four, allowing more curvaceous women to participate in high-fashion shows. Despite the discussion, the sample size wasn't changed.
There's a sad irony in that rule. Though models must fit into a size zero to walk the runway, the CFDA stipulates that models who are identified as having an eating disorder must seek professional treatment and stop modeling until that professional clears them for the industry again.
The discussion of too-thin models began in earnest in 2006, when Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died of a generalized infection due to anorexia. Her death caused the organizers of Madrid Fashion Week to institute a minimum Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.
According to The Associated Press, at the time of Reston's death, she weighed 88 lbs., which put her BMI at 13.4.